South of Jewfish Creek

Dear Friend & Subscriber,

See the date (above) of this newsletter?

Guess what? That date is a flat-out lie. That's the date this letter should have been written. It wasn't. I didn't get this newsletter out in time because I have a new "hobby" that occupies an enormous amount of my time. My new hobby really sucks. You know what it is?

My New Hobby Is Moving!

Remember Hurricane Irene? You probably don't unless you live in South Florida. The truth is, most of us just flat out don't give a shit about anything that happens outside our immediate geographical area... unless, of course... that event somehow affects us personally or business-wise. Ah, whatever. Anyway, Irene was one of the last hurricanes of the 1999 season (she popped up in the middle of October) and wasn't even supposed to hit the Keys at all. Not only that, nobody much cared because Irene was only a Category One hurricane which is as low as you can get on the "hurricane meanness" scale. Category One hurricanes get "minimal" wind speeds from 74 to 95 miles per hour.

I go to bed not even thinking about Irene. Well, the forecasters mispredicted (I think I just invented a new word) the track she was going to take and she made a bull's-eye directly on the house in which I was living. I lived in the bottom half of the house and, at the time, my aunt and uncle lived in the top half.

Category One. No big deal. Except somehow, everybody forgot it is the water damage from a hurricane which wreaks the most havoc. Those high wind speeds make the most dramatic video bites for the TV news casters... but... it is the amount of water the hurricane dumps on the land which mostly determines the extent of the damage.

Guess what? Irene dumped 13 to 16 inches per day on some parts (including my part) of Florida. When I woke up, much of the stuff in my apartment was floating. The property on which we were living literally turned into "Lake Halbert." My Aunt Wanda actually took photos of me paddling my poke boat in the driveway and all around the lawn.

Bottom-line: The damage was so extensive, I had to move. At the time, I had a little office I really didn't need. I just had to have a place to go so I could get out of the house once in a while when my uncle was sick. My little "getaway" was next to the gym where I worked out, thus, I decided it was as good a place as any to move into.

Damn, did that ever suck! The master thermostat to set the temperature for all the units was located in my office... but... I wasn't allowed to operate it. For whatever bizarre reason, I was always freezing my ass off... or... about to expire from heat exhaustion.

Not only that, the walls were all of about 1/4" thick so I could hear everything going on in the gym... including... a bunch of porker women yelling their way through an aerobic class at all hours of the day and night... including... the hours before sunrise.

Plus, the roof leaked.

Seriously leaked.

Thus, I decide to move a bit further up the road to a nice place called the Pelican Motel. I end up living there for more than three months. Clean, neat and basic. All is well... except... I had to learn to do what I later termed "The Pelican Shuffle." In other words, once, twice, or maybe even thrice a week...

I Had To Move
To Another Room!

Once I had to move from Unit 4 to Unit 5. Know what the difference is between Unit 4 and Unit 5? NOTHING! Almost all the rooms are clones of each other. Apparently, the "Pelican Regulars" (snowbirds who come to the hotel year after year during the winter season) often insist on having their exact same room every time.

Now picture this in your mind: Let's say you've got a Dayrunner calendar where you keep track of all the stuff you gotta do... and... two or three days of every week, the first thing you gotta do on those days is...


Do you have any idea how much moving sucks? Even if you only have to move across the hall?

It's a nightmare. But, the nightmare eventually ends because... TA DA!... the houseboat I bought in Cocoa Beach is finally moved to Peg Leg's Marine Center... and... I am able to move aboard.

Yahoo! I am finally living in my home. But, I want my new home to be spiffier than it is. I want solid oak floors on the entire interior of the boat. I want the boat painted "my colors" (peach and teal) and a zillion other things done. The marina hires guys to do this stuff for me...

While I'm Living
On The Boat!

Have you ever decided to live in a house at the same time it is being remodeled? Trust me, you won't do it twice. If you ever even think about doing it, rent the movie "Money Pit" starring Tom Hanks.

I learned all kinds of new stuff while my boat was being remodeled. Like what a "floor leveler" is. Just in case you're like me and had no idea such a thing existed, here's what it is: Let's say you have a floor made of something other than wood... but... you want the floor to be wood. In that case, some chain-smoking construction worker who hasn't bathed in a month will use a tool (called a "level") to check out the levelness (what else?) of your pre-existing floor and discover if it is 100% level or not. He does this because he wants the original floor to be level before he puts down your new wooden floor. If it's not 100% level, he takes a grey putty-like substance ("floor leveler") and smears it on the unlevel parts of your floor and forms and shapes it till his device says your floor is level.

How did I, Sir Gary of Halbert learn about floor leveler? Well, one night it is time for me to go nighty-night. There is dim lighting coming from my bedroom and, I see no need to turn more lights on. Because floor leveler goo is greyish, it doesn't reflect much light. Thus, I learn what floor leveler is the hard way...

I Step In It!

Now listen up. Floor leveler has to lay around and harden (just like concrete) before you can put your wooden flooring on it. Who knew? As I just told you, I stepped in this big, grey blob of something resembling powdery grey cat shit which I proceed to track all over my houseboat. The next day, the construction workers yell and howl and laugh at me. "I'm a copywriter!" I yell back. "How the hell am I supposed to know about stuff like floor leveler?! Can any of you assholes do a mathematical, demographic regression analysis on a marketing campaign?"

Well, I dare say THAT shut them up.

Onward. Have you ever been in a "Home Depot" store? They've got so much weird shit in those HUGE stores, it's like shopping on Mars. But, Home Depot has saved my soul. They have illuminated for me, the missing spiritual chunk of my life needed to make me happy, fulfilled and at peace. Believe it or not, Home Depot taught me this lesson in only four words. Yessirreebob, they got a sign in there which completely straightened me out. Here's what it says:

Don't Forget

Grout Sponge!

Do you know how often I have forgotten grout sponge? Actually, I have forgotten it (until now) every single day of my life. That's why I am convinced it was the major reason things had often gone badly for me. Can you even imagine trying to have a halfway decent day during a 24-hour period...

When You Have Completely
Forgotten Grout Sponge?

I think it's probably impossible.

I still don't know what "grout sponge" is (please don't tell me and take the mystery out of it) but, I never forget it anymore. Besides, now that grout sponge is never far from my consciousness, I sense my life is beginning to improve.

My houseboat is very livable now. In fact, it's a great place to live. Even so, I took it to a boat yard where they are pulling it out of the water to scrape and paint the bottom. The boat yard is also repowering it with brand new engines. They say this will take about 30 days. Translation: It will take 60 to 90 days. They say it will cost about $25,000. Translation: It will cost $50,000 to $75,000.

Where do I live now? I'll have to learn how to use my GPSR (Global Positioning Satellite Receiver) to find out. This is a little gizmo which tells me (if I could figure out how to use it) what my exact geographic location happens to be.

I've decided to travel while my home is being worked on. I just came back from spending a few days with Joe Polish. He has a new house. He thinks his house is great. Actually, it is as mediocre as Peter Louis. With minor (almost indistinguishable) differences, it looks like every other house on his street... which were... of course all built by the same builder. Being the "King of Carpet Cleaners" his floors are naturally made out of...


Concrete which is painted a variety of goofy colors which has a magnetic attraction for every kind of dust and dirt found in all of Phoenix. Joe also has a new Jaguar bought for him by Bill Phillips of EAS. Bill bought Joe the car because... even though Joe gave Bill most of the better ideas used to promote Bill's book ("Body of Life")... Bill didn't give Joe any of the credit whatsoever. Bill didn't have the balls to talk with Joe in person about that subject so, he bought him the car. Joe likes the car but, if you'd paint that sucker red, it would look almost exactly like an $83,000 Miata.

Since he drives the car in Phoenix, the door handles get so damn hot, you have to hold a rag in your hands to open the doors to avoid getting a first degree burn.

Speaking of Phoenix, why the hell does this city exist anyway? Can you imagine 150 years ago, some guy and his wife riding across the country looking for a place to live, they come to the Phoenix area... the guy looks at his wife and says...

"Honey, Let's Settle
Right Here!"

"Oh, gosh yes!" his wife immediately replies. "It's 130 degrees, there's no water, no trees, no vegetation and, the Indians have mostly all died because sun tan lotion hasn't been invented yet."

They settle there and live in caves during the day to escape the heat, procreate at night and, their fourth of fifth generation progeny have all purchased "Starbucks" franchises and constantly consult Fengshui experts to help them adjust the energy flow of their environments.

You know what else? While I was visiting Joe, I gave him what may actually be the most profitable marketing idea of his pathetic life.

Because I have no home, in less than one day from the time I finish writing this newsletter, I am flying to New Jersey to help Nate Aventino and the people she works with create a couple of "killer" promotions.

You know what I've decided to do next? I'm going to put on a seminar. You know what it's going to be about? Well, I don't know either. I'm going to call it...

"Gary Halbert's
'No Agenda' Seminar!"

Got questions about copywriting? Then I'll talk about copywriting and answer your questions the best I can.

Want to know something about the stock market? Ask me and I'll reveal shit you never even dreamed about. Plus, my son Bond will disclose even more.

Got Internet questions? I bet I can (with the help and expertise of my attendees) give you answers which will knock your socks off.

Want to know where the really hot chicks are in Rio? We'll stick ear plugs in the ears of all the ladies at my seminar, and I will lay some truly scorching info upon you.

What I want this seminar to be is...

The World's Ultimate
Brainstorming Seminar!

You're gonna have to pay to come though. But not too much. I'm gonna keep it cheap because I want a lot of people there.

When is this seminar going to be held?


Exactly when? I don't know. I'm leaving that all up to Theresa. Where are we going to have it? I'm leaving that up to Theresa also. Exactly how much is it going to cost you to attend? I'm leaving that up to her too.

Why am I doing it this way? I have to. I'm too busy moving to do anything else.

What should you do if you want to come? Well, since Theresa doesn't even know about this yet, she'll need a few days to start making arrangements. In the meantime, if you really want to attend, you have to call...

(305) 534-7577

You'll get Theresa's voicemail and, after the beep, you've got to leave a message something like, "Theresa, this is John Q. Everett (or whatever your name is). I am interested in coming to Gary's 'No Agenda' seminar. Please give me all the details." Then be sure to leave your phone and fax numbers, your e-mail address and, your real address. I don't know how she'll choose to respond to these calls but, I want her to have every available option.



   Gary C. Halbert


P.S. Are you pissed off at me for writing this newsletter instead of the one about copywriting I was supposed to write? Well, guess what? I don't care. After all the moving and relocating and traveling I've done recently...

That's Not What I
Felt Like Writing About!

Instead, I felt like ranting... and... the truth is, I never liked you very much anyway.


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Copyright 2003 Gary C. Halbert.  All Rights Reserved.